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Eurogamer meets Ray Parker Jr.

Bustin' makes him feel good.

Everything was better in the eighties. Back then it was socially acceptable to like pop music, wear red leather and smoke. It was a jollier, gentler time, and the only thing you had to worry about was the perpetual threat of global nuclear holocaust.

If you're too young to remember, the video for Ray Parker Jr.'s Ghostbusters song provides an excellent window into history. A neon window, in fact. It should also give you an idea of sexual politics back then, when there was nothing more hilarious than men hiding under the beds of sleeping women and chasing them half-naked around their homes.

As you already know, and will be reminded regardless every 18 seconds between now and July, a new Ghostbusters videogame is on the way. It has a script written by Dan Aykroyd and also features Ray Parker Jr.'s iconic theme song.

Eurogamer caught up with Jr. at an event in London last week. We had to share our interview slot with "veteran" games journalist Steve Hill, who here plays Richard to our Judy. Read on to find out why Ray didn't fancy the girl in the video, just how much money he made from that song and why he won't be surprised if they don't call him for Ghostbusters 3.

JudyWe were shown the original video for your song earlier today - did that bring back happy memories? Or any unpleasant ones?
Ray Parker Jr.

No! Unpleasant, are you kidding? What's unpleasant about that? I had as much fun watching it as I did making it.

RichardIt's, ah, slightly dated. Do you think you could get away with a video like that today? What was the message behind that, you hiding in a house with a semi-naked woman?
Ray Parker Jr.

I don't know what the message was. We were trying to figure out how to film a video about ghosts. So I thought, put the Saturday Night Live guys in it and we'll make fun of it. I don't know who wrote the script.

At the time, I was ten years younger than the girl in the video. So I was like, "Why didn't they get a cute chick? Who's the old girl?" Now I look at her and it's like, "Ooh, she's kinda sexy."

JudyYou didn't stay in touch?
Ray Parker Jr.

No, I never touched her in the first place.

RichardWhat about the scene where you roll out from under the bed? How many takes did you have to do?
This man will take you home.
Ray Parker Jr.

Not many. I just rolled out.

RichardThat's your natural position, is it?
Ray Parker Jr.

Well, it wasn't natural. It wasn't comfortable down there. Course, when you're younger it doesn't hurt. If you asked me to do it now I'd be in bed for two days with backache.

JudyHow much did you know about the Ghostbusters film when you sat down to write the song?
Ray Parker Jr.

I saw the film. The director told me what he wanted in the song, but the hard part was he wanted the word "Ghostbusters" in it. That was difficult.

JudyIt doesn't rhyme with a lot, does it?
Ray Parker Jr.

It doesn't sing well. You can't even put a rhyming word after it. So the creative part was to fineagle the word Ghostbusters into the song.

RichardWhen you first saw the film, did you think that 25 years later it would have the impact it has now?
Ray Parker Jr.

I didn't go that far, I didn't have time. I was thinking, 'I'm just going to get my music done and get my money...' Then after it was done I thought, 'Well, that was a nice film. That was fun.'

JudyI interviewed Ernie Hudson last year, who played Winston Zeddemore. He told me he'd been to a party round yours, and that your house is nicer than his, and he wishes he'd written that song instead of being in the movie... Is your house really nicer?
Ray Parker Jr.

I don't know, I haven't been to Ernie Hudson's house.

JudyHe's probably too ashamed.
And make sweet, sweet love to ya.
Ray Parker Jr.

First of all, he doesn't live too far from me, so don't you feel sorry for him. It's a nice area. But my house is pretty nice.

JudyHas it got a neon telephone and a slide-out thingy under the bed?
Ray Parker Jr.

None of those kind of things, no.

JudyI wouldn't be so rude as to ask just how much money you made from the Ghostbusters song. But can you tell us - was it more than a hundred pounds?
Ray Parker Jr.


RichardConsiderably more?
Ray Parker Jr.

More than a hundred pounds a minute, forever.

JudyYou mean for the rest of time? For eternity?
Ray Parker Jr.

Probably, yes.

RichardWhy are you bothering with this videogame then?
Ray Parker Jr.

I love it. I saw the game last year, but they've done so much more to it. When Vivendi sold it I thought to myself, 'Goddarn it, now I don't get my cheque.' There's nothing that ruins my day more than not getting my cheque.

I called my girl and she said, "Ray, they put all this money into the videogame. You're going to get your cheque. You just don't get it this year, that's all."

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About the Author
Ellie Gibson avatar

Ellie Gibson


Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.